Katherine Anne Porter’s letter to Robert Penn “Red” Warren 18 November 19658 September 2011
Katherine Anne Porter’s letter to Robert Penn “Red” Warren 18 November 1965
Source: Stuart Wright Collection-Katherine Anne Porter Papers #1169-009.1.x
Staff Person: Jonathan Dembo
Katherine Anne Porter addressed this 1965 letter to “My Dear Red” (Robert Penn Warren) apparently in response to Warren’s gift of his recently published poems and a letter apologizing for not writing. Understanding, she explains that she hesitates to write to her friends because she doesn’t want them to feel that they must respond immediately. And she has been in poor health in recent years. Porter goes on to profess her deep appreciation for Warren’s poetry especially one poem which she has mislaid and cannot find. At one time, she had memorized all of Shakespeare’s sonnets in their correct order; now she cannot remember poetry. Despite her care for her health, spending fourteen hours a day in bed, she is still “withering away.” She advises him to make sure that his wife Eleanor takes care of herself. She notes that a reviewer in Time Magazine called her “the grimmest misanthrope in American literature” and that another critic in the New York Review wanted to “bulldoze me off the littery [sic] landscape” but writes that they can’t hurt her: “I have had and have just the friends I would have chosen, and now come the right enemies. Life is good.” In fact, however, Porter was engaging in some hyperbole. The Time Magazine review of “The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter” which appeared in the 5 November 1965 edition only referred to her as “one of the grimmer misanthropes of 20th century literature” not the “grimmest”. In 1966 she won the Pulitzer Prize for literature which raised her spirits.
Posted by Jonathan Dembo under East Carolina Manuscript Collection, Stuart Wright Collection, family papers, letters (correspondence) and Tags: District of Columbia, Eleanor Warren, John Crowe Ransom, Katherine Anne Porter, Katherine Anne Porter Papers, Library of Congress, Literary Criticism, New York Review, novelists, Pneumonia, poetry, poets, Robert Penn Warren, Time Magazine, Washington